A new study has found that just a simple blood test could be as efficient and accurate as a spinal fluid test for determining whether a personal actually has Parkinson’s or if its symptoms are caused by a related disorder.
The study, published in the journal Neurology released by the American Academy of Neurology, reveals that difficulties of differentiating between Parkinson’s disease and other similar disorders, at the early stage of the disease, as most symptoms tend to overlap.
Diagnosing the disease early is important as a benefit of treatment can vary dramatically depending on the stage of the disease and between that of actual Parkinson’s or just similar disorders. However, according to the lead author of the study, Dr. Oskar Hansson, from the Lund University, Sweden, diagnosing Parkinson’s disease can become much easier than it is currently being done today.
The researchers found the different concentrations of nerve protein in a patient’s blood can easily discriminate between the different neurological disorders. Furthermore, a simple blood test also provides the same accuracy as a spinal fluid test. The nerve protein in question is known as neurofilament light chain protein. It acts as a component of nerve cells and can also be found in both the spinal fluid and the blood stream.
For their study, the researchers analyzed more than 500 people from three different study groups. Two of the three groups involved people from England and Sweden who had lived with Parkinson’s or other atypical parkinsonism disorders (APD) for an average time of four to six years. The last group had people who suffered from either type of disease for just three years or less.
Among the overall number of patients, 244 had Parkinson’s, 88 suffered from multiple system atrophy, 79 were healthy and served as a control group, 70 were affected by progressive supranuclear palsy, and 23 had corticobasal degeneration.
After extensive analysis, the researchers found a simple blood test was just as accurate in detecting the specific disorder as a spinal fluid test. This new method can help doctors provide a more comprehensive diagnostic to their patients.
What do you think about the new study? Do you know anyone suffering from Parkinson’s or any other APD disease?
Image source: Flickr
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